Cancelled Exam Results

Exam results 2020 - framework and process

As you may know - due to coronavirus, (COVID-19) and school closure's, this year’s summer exam series, including A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications, and all primary assessments, have been cancelled.

This note summarises the Government's approach to managing this unwanted situation, Information as at the 20th March can be found here 


The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled.

  • Ofqual is developing a process through which to provide a calculated grade to each student.
  • The process will aim to reflect the student’s performance as fairly as possible.
  • Ofqual will work with the exam boards to ensure the process is consistently applied for all students.

Exam boards will ask teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead. Teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment – clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.

Before an approach is finalised Ofqual and exam boards will ensure the approach is as fair as possible through discussions with teachers’ representatives.

  • We aim to provide calculated grades to students before the end of July.
  • As a permanent record, the grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years.
  • We aim to ensure that the distribution of grades follows a similar pattern to that in other years.
  • If a student feels the correct process hasn’t been followed in their particular case they will be able to appeal.
  • If they feel the grade that they are awarded doesn’t reflect their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam once schools are open again.
  • Students will have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.
  • The Government will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for 2020.

Evidence shows teacher-assessed grades are reliable and valid. “We expect to work closely with Government on further detail to make this as fair as possible for all involved.” Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU)

In the case of vocational, technical and other academic qualifications that have exams, the governing organisations are being encouraged to be flexible and pragmatic to ensure students are not disadvantaged.

University representatives have advised that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.